By Ivo Henfling
I have been struggling with bad pain in my feet for years and no doctor could find what the problem was. Thank God for the internet (not of Facebook this time), that made it possible for me to find out that I have a neurological problem. A Costa Rica real estate agent who cannot walk is no good, so I decided to do something about it.
In Costa Rica, the advantage is that if you have a medical problem, you do not need to be referred by any doctor. You just find a doctor in the phone book and make the appointment.
That is how simple it was for me to make an appointment with a neurologist in CIMA hospital in Escazu, a private hospital in Costa Rica. The doctor had me do a neurological electrogram and confirmed that I have a painful neuropathy and I won’t bother you with the rest of the mile long name. What I had also found on the web was that my problem is something that is mostly suffered by diabetics and I am not one.
There is apparently no one been able to find out why non-diabetics would have a painful neuropathy. Pins and needles, burning, cramping mixed with numbness, and tingling are the wording most used by patients.
The doctor prescribed a lot of pills, most to kill the pain and for months I was having stomach aches and the neuropathy didn’t go anywhere, so I stopped taking the pills after a while and went back to my pain.
My wife Dany had been having quite some problems with a knee and ended up visiting Dr. Daniel Alcazar de la Torre, an orthopedist and trauma surgeon, specializing in sports trauma, also in the CIMA hospital. Dany needed a meniscus operation and a cleaning of her cartilage, which is hard to recover from. The doctor is specialized in sports injuries but also treats the needed like you and me, long gone sports heroes.
Since I always walk on flip flops whenever I can, because my feet hurt less, we started talking about why I dress like a gringo.
He looked at my feet and said right away the arch of my feet is too high and that’s why my feet are hurting. He said he might not be able to do anything for me, as my problem was very advanced, but was willing to give it a shot, without any promises of making it any better.
That was what I liked best about his answer, no bullshitting, just straightforward willingness to help without any promises.
Dr. Daniel sent me to his brand new rehab center across the highway, called Clinica del Deporte, the sports clinic a very well set up place that has everything a patient can ask for. Between Daniel and Christina, the two outstanding physiotherapists, they taught me how to stand on my toes again, how to regain my balance and how to throw a basketball without falling over, among a lot of other things that I haven’t been able to do in 20 years.
Christina and Daniel also treated me with laser, did hot and cold treatments on my feet and some other things that I don’t even know what it is called.
They gave me a lot of homework too. Most of the treatment was paid for by INS, my Costa Rica medical insurance. The pain is gone for 60% and I have regained 70% of the use of my feet. I go to the gym again and show property in Costa Rica without hurting like crazy.
Dany’s knee is getting better, little by little, as long as she is careful with what she does. Dr. Daniel does what he can to monitor her knee. If you have an orthopedic problem, I can definitely recommend Dr. Daniel Alcazar de la Torre, on the 4th floor of Tower II in the CIMA hospital and his team of dedicated physiotherapists as Mariel, the punctual receptionist. For appointments with the bi-lingual doctor, call 2208-8416 at the CIMA hospital. For Costa Rica real estate, call me.